Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Silliness

My husband sent me a really funny joke earlier this week that I was planning to send to friends and family by email. Then I thought, “Nah. I’ll share it with my blog readers.”

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

HOMEWORK: When I grow up...

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assignment:

After it was graded and the child took it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note from her mother:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This drawing is of me selling a shovel.

Mrs. Harrington

Friday, February 26, 2010

How Clair And Bailey Are Getting Along

Hiya folks! Not only is it Friday once again, it’s ferrety Friday, the best day of the week. And this week, I’m going to post a little update on how Bailey and Clair are getting along. I know that I mentioned last week that I’d be back within a few short days to add a post on my blog about how this new little fuzzy ended up with us, but I’ve been terribly busy for the past little while, which hasn’t allowed me much time to hang around my computer, let alone write stuff for my blog. I have, in fact, written up most of her story; I just have to polish it up, edit a couple of photos and upload it for the world to see. Hopefully this weekend!

What have I been up to you ask? Well, it’s none of your business. Just kidding. Well, not really. If it was something really personal, I would tell you it’s none of your business, but it’s not, so I don’t mind sharing.

But I won’t share. Because whatever it is that has been keeping me busy is nothing exciting. I mean, who’s in the mood to read about the rearranging and swapping of bedrooms, of lugging furniture up and down the stairs, of washing walls and mopping floors, and of spring cleaning and closet organizing?

Nobody. That’s what I thought.

A-ny-way... Let’s get to Clair and Bailey.

So Clair (that was the name the previous owners gave her; we’re not 100% sure we’re going to keep it, although it is kind of cute, especially that it’s spelled without an ‘e’ at the end) has been with us since last Friday, and I’m happy to report that her and Bailey are getting along wonderfully. They share his cage when they’re not out playing, and they sleep together all the time. Like this:

Isn’t that just the cutest thing?

“Love is in the air, everywhere I look around…la la la la…”

I will add more information about her arrival very soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone is doing well and counting the days till spring, which is on its way...WOOHOO! (Although it’s hard to believe that with all the snow we’ve had this week)


Let’s finish this post with a few words from Bailey.

What say you, Bailey?

You bet we can, buddy. Forever.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Introducing Clair

I had a long post prepared for today but something came up and I will keep it for next week.

What came up, you ask? This:

Introducing Clair, a tiny little female ferret that joined our household earlier today. I’m running out of time, and I’m totally exhausted, so I’m going to save her story for later this weekend or early next week.

We are officially a two-ferret home. And Bailey has a girlfriend. We’ll ask him on the next post what his feelings are about this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Hip Dip

Pretty lame title, you say? How can a dip be hip, you ask?

Well, this one is not only hip; it is boss, way cool, far out, groovy, neato, fab-flippin-tastic - and whatever other slang term you can think of or remember from your youth that would best describe something that’s absolutely, totally, incredibly, unbelievably, mind-bogglingly awesome. Most of the words I can bring to mind are no doubt pretty antiquated, but I’m in my mid 40s now, so I’m headed towards being a little antiquated myself. So there’s that.


I mentioned awhile back that I do a lot of home cooking, which I enjoy. I’m pretty sure that my family also enjoys this too; they come right away when I call them for supper and they help themselves to seconds, so I’m convinced that they find the meals I make tasty. Now, if they pretended not to hear me when I called them or regularly had ‘other’ plans for that evening, which, coincidentally, included supper at a friend’s house (a.k.a nearby restaurant) then my culinary skills would be questionable.


Now that I’ve patted myself on the back and sung my own praises, let me share this scrumptious recipe that I found in my Weight Watcher’s cookbook. You can use it as a dip for cut up vegetables, as a spicy spread on sandwiches, as a topping on baked potatoes or whatever other way you please. And not only is it delicious, it’s also low in fat and calories (for those of you watching the waistline), and quick and easy to prepare. You can’t get better than that.

Nutritional information per serving (1/4 cup): 16 Cal, 0 g Fat, 0 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 0 mg Chol, 23 mg Sod, 4 g Carb, 1 g Fib, 1 g Prot, 7 mg Calc.


2 large red bell peppers, roasted (see notes below)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a food processor (I use a blender), puree the roasted peppers (and their juice), tomato paste, vinegar, garlic and cayenne until smooth. Keep refrigerated.


Roasting Bell Peppers (Weight Watcher's Style)
Preheat the broiler, line a baking sheet with foil and arrange the bell peppers on the baking sheet, turning frequently until charred on all sides (about 10 minutes). Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Place a strainer over a small bowl. Peel the peppers over the strainer, discarding the cores and seeds and allowing the juices to drip into the bowl.

Roasting Bell Peppers (My Style)
Cut each pepper in 4 pieces and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the sliced peppers (flattened) on a baking tray lined with foil paper and broil until the skins are black.

Remove peppers from oven, transfer them to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (or plate) for 10 - 15 minutes.

Peel away the skins, slice each pepper into small slices and place them in the food processor (or blender) to puree.

Using Ready Made Roasted Peppers
If you are short on time, you can use a 7 ounce jar of roasted red peppers that are not packed in oil. Drain them and slowly add the liquid to the food processor to reach the right consistency.

That’s all there is to it folks. The end result will look like this:

Mmmm...mmmm... Now where did I put my spoon? The BIG one...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Differences Between Male And Female Ferrets

Well, hello friends. It’s time, once again, to share some ferrety information with you. And guess what’s on the agenda for today?

“How to end world hunger?”

Um. No.

“How to bring about world peace?”

No. No. No.

“You don’t care about these things?”

[Sigh] Of course I do. But this post is about ferrets.

“Oh.” [pause] “Hey, I think I know what’s on for today. You’re going to write about the government-funded secret military labs that are breeding warrior-style ferrets that will be used to dominate the general population?”


“You really don’t know about this? Well, you just wait. You’ll read all about it in one of Dean Koontz’s books. He knows what’s going on. They publish his books as fiction, but I know better. Oh yes I do.”

Uhuh. O-kay… Moving along...

I’m going to write about the differences between male and female ferrets, if there are any, and how to distinguish between the two.

“And somehow you feel that this is more important than putting an end to world hunger?”

Shoo. Go away.

“Alright, so what are the differences between male and female ferrets, you ask?”


Not much.

Size is about the only real difference between the two. Although there are exceptions to this rule, males are slightly larger, growing between 17 to 24 inches in length and weighing anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds. Females, on the other hand, will be about 12 to 16 inches long and weigh between 1 to 3 pounds. In summary, a domesticated ferret will have an average length of 20 inches and weigh about 2 to 4 pounds. Both have long and slender bodies, so don’t look for those feminine curves to help determine whether you have a male or female pet.

Photo from SXC

There are a lot of opinions from ferret owners, but the general consensus is that male and female behaviour generalizations are basically impossible because every ferret has a unique personality, regardless of what sex it is. A female can play just as rough as a male, and a male can be just as affectionate and cuddly as a female. So don’t assume that your docile, affectionate pet is a female; males have no problem showering you with ferrety kisses.

The only time you will find a noticeable difference between male and females ferrets is when they’re not fixed. For example, an un-neutered male ferret is very territorial and will likely become very aggressive toward other ferrets as well as toward people and other pets he lives with. In addition, when frustrated, he may cause serious injury by biting. He will also have a very strong and unpleasant odor about him, and, to top it all off, he may decide to ‘mark’ his territory. ‘Nuff said.

For a female ferret, on the other hand, spaying is a medical necessity because when she goes into heat she stays in heat until she breeds. The continuing heat cycle leads to a life-threatening condition called aplastic anemia, a condition caused by high levels of the hormone estrogen, which is produced when the female ferret is in heat. Inevitably, severe anemia sets in and death follows. So fixing a female will ultimately save her life.

That’s about all the differences you’ll find between male and female ferrets. Now, the only thing that remains is how to actually tell whether a ferret is male or female. It’s something that I learned recently, which led to the discovery that Bailey is male and not female. And it’s very easy to do.

If you look on the belly of a ferret, halfway between the tail and the bottom of the rib cage, and you notice what looks like an ‘outie’ belly button, it’s a male (and that’s not a belly button). If there’s no sign of a belly button, it’s a female. It’s that simple.

So that’s it for today folks. I hope that this has proven to be another informative ferrety Friday.

The last word, once again, goes to Bailey.

Hey dude! What say you?

Um, no. That wouldn’t be a good idea...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yup, It’s Definitely A Flower

Well, looks like I was right. The unusual growth on my Vriesea splendens is indeed a flower:

This is a very exciting moment because no Bromeliad under my care has ever flowered for me. And it’s also an ego stroking event because Vriesea splendens (from what I’ve learned over the years) does not bloom easily. So, you can imagine how inflated my plant-growing ego is these days (I’m having difficulty entering a room because my head is too big to fit through the door).

Anyhow, the flower is not quite done yet, and I suppose I could have waited till it is fully grown before posting a picture of it, but I couldn’t resist bragging about it. Plus, I get to post about this once more in the future so that I can brag about it all over again. Cool, huh?

Incredibly impressive green thumb giftedness aside (don’t you love tooting your own horn?), it’s really nice to see a bloom this time of year when everything outdoors is dead or dormant. Also, it’s the only plant in the house that’s blooming, so I may as well milk it for all it’s worth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Okay, so is everybody here?


Now, listen up folks because I have some incredible news about Bailey. Are you ready?

“Get on with it already. Sheesh.”

Alrighty. Well, I was doing some research on ferrets the other day, basically trying to prepare a post for the next ferrety Friday, which is one about male versus female ferrets, whether one is a better choice than the other, how you can tell the difference between them, the importance of spaying and neutering, etc, etc, etc. And guess what?


Well, you have to guess.

"Fine. Is Bailey pregnant?"

[Chuckle...giggle…snicker...cough...] Um. No.

"Bailey is in heat?"

[Chuckle...giggle…snicker...cough...] Nope.

“Oh come on, water roots lady, just get to the point already, would you?”

Alright, alright. I discovered...drum roll please...that our little Bailey is a BOY, NOT A GIRL!


That was pretty much my reaction!

“But how did this happen? Didn’t they tell you that your ferret was a female at the pet store”

They sure did.

“So what happened?”

Well, there were a couple of young girls working that day and, from what I gathered, they didn’t seem entirely sure about whether Bailey was male or female. They must have taken a guess and gotten it wrong. Hmmm...come to think of it, there were a lot of things about ferrets they didn’t seem too sure about.”

“But you didn’t think to check?”

[shrug] I believed them when they told me Bailey is a female.

“Are you sure that Bailey is male?”

Oh, yeah. I’m sure

“Poor Bailey. What has this done to her...oops...his self esteem?”

Well, she...I mean he seems fine. And he’s dook-dooking as much as always, so I guess it hasn’t been an issue.

“Could you be wrong?”

I don’t think so. A visit to the vet in the near future will say for sure, but I’m pretty confident that Bailey is a boy.



Hey, Bailey, have anything to say?

Don’t push it, Bailey.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How Fuzzies Communicate

It’s Friday, folks, which means that we’re all gathered here once again to learn a little more about an adorable – but highly misunderstood – pet. Now, as you all know, the two most popular pets – dogs and cats – can readily be identified by the sounds they make. For instance, everyone knows that cats meow and dogs bark. And this knowledge is learned early in life; very young children who are just beginning to communicate are taught the sounds that dogs and cats make because they see these creatures everywhere: in the park, on television, at a friend’s house and even in their own home.

But what sounds do ferrets make? Do they bark? Or hiss? Or shriek? Or chirp? Do they make sounds at all?

Yes, they do make sounds. And they make most of the above.

First things first.

If it’s a really quiet pet you’re after, this is where ferrets score big, because they hardly ever make a sound. And when they do, it’s usually very subtle.


Ferrets are very interactive critters that often use vocalizations to get their point across, so it’s important to understand what the sounds they make mean. By learning your pet’s language, you’ll understand what mood it’s in and what message it’s sending out.

Photo from SXC


The most common – and cutest – sound a ferret makes is the ‘dook’. This is a soft clucking or chattering noise that is often made when a ferret is very excited or happy. You’re most likely to hear this low-pitched grumble when your ferret is playing or exploring; it’s made out of sheer pleasure, so be pleased when you hear it. One thing to bear in mind: you may have to listen closely to hear the ‘dook-dooking’ because the vocalizations of some ferrets are really soft.


Ferrets sometimes bark like a dog, although this is unusual and fairly uncommon. This sound is made when a fuzzy is extremely excited or very frightened.


If your ferret screeches or screams, it’s not a happy camper. Investigate the reasons for this sound immediately; a high-pitched shriek is a reaction to pain, anger or fear. A screech may be followed by rapid chattering.


Ferrets hiss just like cats do, although not quite as loudly. Either way, just as with a cat, hissing is meant as a warning. A hissing ferret is an irritated, angry or frightened ferret, so if your pet is making this sound, approach it with caution, speak to it softly and don’t pick it up until it has calmed down.


Fuzzies let out a cry when they are injured, in need of attention or frightened. If your ferret makes this noise, investigate right away. He may be in danger and need your assistance. Or he may be lonely and in need of some company.

That pretty much summarizes the sounds that ferrets are likely to make. And while they can, and often do, vocalize, they’re usually very quiet. Some ferrets hardly, if ever, make a sound while others chatter from time to time as if they’re talking to themselves. But even the most ‘talkative’ fuzzies still win the prize for ‘quietest’ pet.

And finally, let’s check in with Bailey.

“Do you have anything to add to today’s post, Bailey?”

Ah, a happy camper...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Loving Memory Of My Father

My father passed away three years ago today. He was stricken with cancer for the second time, and although he had beat the first round, a different form of cancer returned 12 years later and claimed him. He left us very quickly and very unexpectedly. No one, least of all him, expected that this merciless illness would return after so many years - and with such a vengeance. Within six weeks of being diagnosed, my father lost the battle. And he was gone. He became so sick, so quickly that we didn’t even have time to say our goodbyes.

When the time came to write something special about him for the funeral, my brother contacted me and asked me to do it. He said that since I was the writer of the family, I was the ideal choice for this important task. I’d never realized that my family thought I was good with words, so I was extremely flattered by his request – and honoured. That day, only a few hours after my father had passed away, and in the midst of grief, I sat down and wrote a eulogy for him on behalf of my family. I’d like to share it with all of you today on the 3rd anniversary of his passing. I’ve also included some family photos.


What purpose does each of us serve in our lifetime and how do we measure its significance? Must we be world-renowned inventors of something extraordinary for our existence to be deemed worthwhile? How is a man’s success truly measured?

My father did not live in a big fancy house. He lived in a happy loving home.

(My parents when they were a young couple)

He did not dine in upscale trendy restaurants, but rather came home to dinner with his family every night.

He did not globe-trot around the world, hob-knobbing with the rich and famous. Instead, he was a loyal and faithful husband and a dedicated father.

My father had no use for designer clothing or expensive cars because he did not believe in the value of things.

He chose instead, to invest in family, to invest in people. He did not build an empire of money. He built an empire of love, never confusing what he owned with what he was worth.

(Our family (yup, that's me on the left))

My father did not make headlines around the world. He made headlines in our world.

He was here to guide and to teach us. He taught us kindness and compassion. A gentle and wise soul sent to help offset the evil in this world.

He made his way with integrity, passing on the most valuable tools in this life, so that we could in turn pass them on to those arriving after us. In essence, he created a human chain of kindness that would continue through the generations and spread through all who knew him.

One night, many years ago, looking-in on his granddaughters sleeping snugly in their beds, he turned and said “Do you see these two little girls sleeping like angels in their beds? This is what’s important. Remember that. Nothing else in life even comes close.”

He taught us that children and family, love and forgiveness are the most important sources of peace and happiness.

(My father with me and my two brothers)

His creed was simple and taught the value of relationships and commitment:

“Love each other” he said. “Don’t ever place your loved ones at the bottom of your priority list. All the money in the world, all the careers you will ever build can never hold as much value as the memories you will build with your loved ones. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we plan for, and you will one day regret not having hugged your children more, or taken a walk holding hands with your partner, or laughed with your loved ones. Love each other.”

My father was the definition of a good man and the most successful I have yet known. He lived a more fulfilled life than anyone could dare hope for.


Thank you for showing us the road to integrity – not by what you said but by what you did. You have shown us all, by example, what it means to be a decent, loving human being.

Thank you for teaching us patience and understanding.

And most of all, thank you for loving us…

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, your job is done and it’s now time to go home.

Spread the wings of your soul and rise to the spirit world where you belong.

You have embraced us your whole life. It is now time for God to embrace you.


This post is in loving memory of my father who is always on my mind and forever in my heart. I hope that wherever he is, he is happy, and finally at peace.

(My father and his two granddaughters (my girls when they were younger))

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happiness is...

...a friend you can cuddle with that doesn’t mind how hairy you are. Or smelly.

I’m happy to report that Nacho the cat and Bailey the ferret are continuing to be the best of friends. In fact, they get along better than I had hoped.

It never ceases to amaze me how different species of animals can bond and get along so well. Now, if only the different human races could do the same; what a wonderful world it would be.